Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

How to Drive in Austin’s Crazy Storms

April 19th, 2015, Posted By Austin Housemates

966360663038142832_612584905
Never expect predictability when it comes to weather here in Austin. Last night’s thunderstorm was just a typical spring evening. The hail and rain knocked out trees, power lines, and caused a few interruptions to Reggae Fest. Were you out and about in the storm yesterday? Did you have the unfortunate luck of driving in your car when it hit? We all know the proper safety procedures when it comes to lightening and hailstorms – take cover, avoid tress and metal lampposts, stay dry, but what happens when you’re trying to drive yourself home and the hail is pounding your windshield? You can always pull over and wait for the worst of it to pass, but there isn’t always time for that. Austin is poppin’ and you will have places to be and be seen regardless of the crazy weather. These tips for driving in the rain – even in these crazy Texas storms – will keep you and your passengers safe and guarantee that you’ll arrive to the show, even if you are a few minutes late.

1. Take Your Time
When they’re wet, it’s going to take longer for your tires and your brakes to adjust to the weather. In order to avoid rear end collisions and hydroplaning, slow it down and take your time.

2. Stay in the Middle Lane
When possible, move into the middle lane or at least the lane farthest from the sidewalk. Water will pool and puddle in the outside lanes, closest to curbs and sewer drains. Standing water like this increases the risk of hydroplaning and flooding your car, depending on the depth, so your best bet is to avoid it completely if you can.

3. Maintain Proper Following Distance
This is a Driver’s Ed basic, but in the rain you run the risk of ruining your visibility if you follow too closely, especially behind Texas’ infamous big trucks. They’re going to kick up a lot of water and rain into your windshield, which is only more dangerous for you. Slow it down until your 3-5 seconds behind the car or truck in front of you.

4. Avoid Using Your Brakes
It may seem counter-intuitive, but slamming on your brakes in the rain is only going to lead to spin outs and hydroplaning. Keeping a safe following distance will decrease your need for braking, and if you do have to slow down, simply take your foot off the gas and let your car coast to a safer speed.

5. Basic Vehicular Maintenance
Stay on top of your tires and your windshield wipers. This means regular maintenance checks, oil changes, and tire rotations, either done by yourself or a mechanic. This regular maintenance will keep your vehicle in shape and prepared for whatever crazy weather phenomenon Texas decides to throw our way this spring.

Of course, if you can avoid driving in a storm like last night’s, there’s no reason for you to be out in it. But we can’t always be in the safest, driest, or even most logical place in this city, especially on a Saturday night, so follow these tips to keep yourself safe when driving in the rain.

(Thanks, Yue Zhang, for the great photo!)

Keep Austin Weird – Quirky Winter Tips to Stay Energy-Efficient

November 9th, 2014, Posted By Austin Housemates

ames winter austin

Now that the weekend of Fun Fun Fun Fest is behind us, it’s time to pull out the bulky jackets and the close-toed shoes and hope that another ice storm isn’t coming our way this winter. Roommate living and apartment living comes with its own tensions during the winter season when people are trapped indoors and bickering over the heating bill. Avoid these and other issues by following these few – albeit quirky – tips.

Clean Out the Fridge: This may not be your favorite chore, but cleaning out the fridge will increase your energy efficiency and reduce your power bill. As the refrigerator is one of the biggest strains on the power in your apartment or home, cleaning out the interior as well as the coils on the exterior will keep it running smoothly and appropriately while reducing its pull on your power source. This way, on the colder nights, you won’t feel the bank tighten when you turn up the heat a little bit.

Run Ceiling Fans Counter-Clockwise: Sounds weird, right? But in actuality, reversing the direction of your ceiling fan will send hot air from the ceiling back toward your living space and bedroom. So turn the heat down and turn on the fans.

Buy a Humidifier: Keep the heat down low and purchase a humidifier (also known as a vaporizer). Just like a de-humidifier keeps you cool during our hellacious Texas summers, a humidifier will keep you warm during our unpredictable winter season. Just like you did when you were young and sick with a cold, keeping the air humid will keep it warmer inside your apartment or bedroom. You’ll stay toasty warm without having to worry about an expensive power bill.

Re-Arrange Your Furniture: Time for some feng shui! Especially if you have floor vents, moving your furniture around and away from these vents will free up a lot of space for hot air to warm. Also consider moving beds and couches away from windows and toward the center of the room. This way, vents are free for the circulation of warm air, and any drafts of cool air will stay away from your sleeping and lounging comforts.

Buy a Snake: But not that kind of snake. A door-stopper snake is an elongated bean bag that sits at the base of any door to block drafts. You can purchase an inexpensive snake at local hardware stores or choose to make your own if you’re into arts and crafts and want it to match your personal décor tastes. We recommend the twin models which fit on both sides of the door without obstructing the opening and closing of said door.

Enjoy Your Summer in Austin

May 23rd, 2014, Posted By Austin Housemates

Thursday Night Social Ride, Austin, Texas

Whether you’ve lived here for years or if you’ve just landed at Austin-Bergstrom, you’ve realized one thing: Austin is HOT. Now, the weather lately has been bearable – with a decent amount of rain and a nice breeze, but when we break into that peak summer season you may find yourself melting on 6th street. For those not familiar with a humid summer, Texas heat may come as a surprise. It’s thick, it’s heavy, and it’s sweltering. People will try and tell you that you’ll get used to it, but that isn’t going to happen overnight. There are ways to prepare and avoid the Texas heat without fighting for a spot at the pool or running up your electric bill.

The best way to enjoy your Texas Summer is to take advantage of the Austin night life. Austin takes care of its residents by offering up tons of outdoor festivities during the coolest hours of the day. Not only are the drink specials always better after the sun goes down, but live performances and outdoor movie theaters can completely turn around a hot and boring summer day. The Metz Recreation Center has weekly movie showings throughout the summer, making it a perfect stop for families. Zilker Park offers up Oklahoma! as this year’s Summer Musical in the Park, starting July 11th. And it’s right next to Barton Springs! The icy cool natural spring on the Greenbelt that is oh-so-refreshing in the middle of July. Only in Austin can you spend the whole day swimming in the springs followed by a musical performance right across the street.

The city also boasts its fair share of public parks which, once sunset starts, are great places to enjoy the summer. Whether you’re planning a dinner picnic, taking an evening jog, or taking the dog out for some quality outdoor adventures, Austin’s parks are definitely the place to be (and they’re free!). If you’re a cyclist, these parks are popular pit stops for the numerous social cycling groups around the city. These are large groups of leisure bike riders who hit the trails or head downtown once a week or so. Many of the rides happen in the early morning or early evening when the weather is just right. If you’re new to the city, this is a great way to meet locals and learn your way around. One of the most active cycling groups meets at Festival Beach in Edward Rendon Park every Thursday at 730pm, so if you have a bike check them out!

If it’s you’re first summer with us here in Austin, keep an eye on the do512 website (www.do512.com) as they consistently post all upcoming summer events. You can fill up your calendar with fun activities or relaxing evenings instead of wasting away in front of your AC unit. If you have any ideas or know of any summer events happening throughout July and August, hit us up on Facebook and let us know!

How to Stay Cool in the Hot Austin Summer Heat

September 18th, 2013, Posted By Austin Housemates

Barton Springs

 

Austin summers bring bright sunny skies, gorgeous sunsets, and endless amounts of fun opportunities around the city to be outdoors. There’s no better place in Texas than Austin to have a true summer experience boating, swimming, or taking a hike along one of the many greenbelt trails. However, along with that comes the blazing hot summer temperatures that Texas can be famous for.

But don’t fret – you don’t have to suffer through the hot Austin weather this summer. Here are some quick and easy tips to share with your Austin Roommates to beat the heat and stay cool while inside and out:

– Turn off your computers, televisions, and monitors at night or whenever they are not in use. Electronics, especially computers produce a lot of heat when on.

– Leave the door to your room open as much as possible. This increases the airflow through the entire house and will keep your room significantly cooler.

– Turn your fan on and make sure it is rotating counter clockwise. It should be moving air downward. This will produce a wind chill effect and make you feel much cooler, making sleeping much more bearable.

– Don’t shut air vents anywhere in the house. Don’t block the air intake vents. Both of these will reduce the airflow and cause the whole house to be warmer than it should be.

– Spend some time outside in the sun enjoying the great weather. Your body will adjust to the warmer climate and you’ll generally feel cooler when inside in the A/C.

– Drink plenty of water – even if you’re not thirsty. You can sweat a lot during the summer months. Evaporation of the sweat cools the skin, which in turn helps to cool the whole body. But excessive sweating can lead to dehydration, which can lead to serious heat-induced illnesses. So, hydrate – with water, to replenish your fluids and keep your body temperature down.

– Wear light colored cotton. Darker colors just absorb and trap the heat in, making us hotter than we really are.

– Exercise at the coolest times of the day. Generally, early morning and around/after sunset are the best times to keep cool while outside. The sun is at its peak midday, so it’s best to stay away from midday workouts in order to prevent overheating.

– Eat smaller meals more often. Graze. The larger the meal, the more your body has to work to digest it, thereby raising your body temperature.

– Keep your blinds and curtains closed especially during the day. You’ll keep the temperature of the room down if the heat from the sun isn’t blazing into your room.

– Eat fruits and vegetables high in water: watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber, celery, and broccoli to name a few. You’ll stay hydrated, and the fiber will fill you up without leaving a tired, groggy feeling – which can often be amplified by hot weather.

– Take advantage of one of Austin’s many pools or natural springs with your roommates and take a dip. Barton Springs Pool, Hamilton Pool, Lake Travis, your community pool, or even at a local gym. The options are endless around the city.

 

Use these tips to stay cool and you’ll be spending the summer soaking up great memories around the city with some of your Austin Roommates, instead of focusing on the blazing hot temperatures!